Expanding Our Family Isn’t Easy This Time :: The Heartache of Secondary Infertility

My husband and I have two fantastic kids. The oldest is ten years old, while the youngest is eight. After a few years of being uncertain about adding to our family, we recently decided to “see what happens.” To us, this means that we wouldn’t be actively trying nor would we be preventing. Our attitude is “whatever’s meant to be will be.” I was okay with this initially, but then something changed.

Pros and Cons of Both

The age difference would be significant. In ten more years, we’d have one kid in college, and one kid about to head to college, while the potential new baby would be in fourth grade. When I think of that, having a third seems nuts. We’re at a point where both kids are well past potty-trained. Everyone can get into and out of the car independently. There is no need to lug bags or strollers. There are no meltdowns. Everyone is actually functional in public; in fact, outings at this point are all fun and no stress. I had our first two in my mid-twenties. I was young and bounced back well physically. I was, of course, new-mom-tired, but I have a feeling a baby in my mid-thirties would be a whole different ballgame, unlocking a new level of exhaustion. The thought of shaking things up with a new baby is a little daunting.

On the other hand, though, having a third with such an age gap could be great. The last time we had a baby, we also had a toddler. I expect that a new baby right now would be much less overwhelming. We are seasoned parents now. Of course, every child is different, but generally speaking, I think we have a solid handle on how to be parents. The older kids might even be helpful and could potentially become babysitters in a pinch if needed. I have lots of friends with babies right now. With my first two, we were the first of our friends to have kids. It would be fun to share this experience with our friends now.

A New Longing

Although we’ve taken the approach of “let’s see what happens,” I think I really want a baby to happen. With every period, I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more disappointed.  I’ve started daydreaming about pregnancy announcements and considered how cool it would be to not find out the gender with the next one. I find myself saying things like, “This time around, I’d bring dry shampoo to the hospital” or “We would have so much less gear and equipment with this one. Babies don’t need all that.” I’ve caught myself paying attention to all the new trends and hot products that didn’t exist when I had my last baby eight years ago and even researched the Doona stroller because I keep seeing it everywhere. It seems like every woman I meet is pregnant, like every social media post is a pregnancy announcement or gender reveal.

I’m due for my period soon. I promised that this month I would just wait and see, but I caved and took yet another early pregnancy test this morning. Another negative. Part of me feels guilty for feeling so sad. My husband and I are so fortunate to have two already when we know so many couples struggle with infertility. It almost seems greedy. I am so grateful that we didn’t have to work to conceive either of our kids. I don’t know if I want to work to conceive another. I am very “cycle-aware,” if you will. I am 100% certain of my fertile days and understand the how and when of baby-making. I don’t want to make this a chore. I don’t want to pee on ovulation strips or get doctors involved. We’ve been having fun. I’m trying to relax. I’d like to think I could be happy either way, that I could be at peace regardless of the outcome. We are very fulfilled and very blessed. I know that our family will be perfect whether we are a family of 4 or a family of 5. Still, there is a hole in my heart that grows a little bit with each passing month.


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